What type of home alarm system should I get?

When it comes to keeping your home secure, you should know which type of residential alarm system is right for you.
Think for a moment about your neighborhood. On a scale of 1 to 10, how safe would you rank it? Is it more of a 1, and you won't open your door without peeking out the window? Or is it closer to a 10, and you don't mind taking a two-hour trip to the grocery store leaving your front door wide open?

No matter where you live, your safety should be one of your highest priorities. To make your home feel safer, a home security system is the perfect device. But where do you start? With all the options available, how do you know which security alarm is right for your home?

The answer may not be as easy as picking A, B, or C, but knowing some of the key differences between security systems and their components can help guide you in the right direction. From here, you'll have a better idea of what kinds of things you want your home alarm to do for you and your home. And regardless of what type of alarm system you choose, they all have one feature in common: peace of mind.

Wired or Wireless?
As the names suggest, the main difference here is how the system gets its power and sends distress signals. In a hard-wired alarm system, the main control panel and all the sensors in the system are wired and powered from a direct electrical source like an outlet. This type of system is more difficult to tamper with, but it also can be more expensive to install.

On the other hand, wireless systems are powered by a battery source, and all the components communicate with each other via radio signal. This is much simpler to install, especially for homes that are already built. However, it also means that batteries need to be frequently replaced.

Monitored or Unmonitored?
Most residential alarm systems have a variety of sensors that indicate when a door or window is opened when it's not supposed to be. Some home alarm systems include smoke detectors or carbon monoxide sensors. Several alarm systems even include motion sensors that "watch" open spaces like living rooms and hallways while you're away from the house, and get triggered when someone or something moves into its line of sight.

When one of the sensors is tripped, the alarm system does one of two things. For one, it can simply sound a loud alarm, which can scare off unwanted guests like a would-be burglar. This is an unmonitored alarm system, and its purpose is only to make you and your neighbors aware that something's not right. The other option-a monitored alarm system-can notify departments like the police or fire station when the alarm is triggered. This is a great feature for real emergencies, but it does cost a monthly service fee and it can get expensive if someone responds to a false alarm.

Video and Internet Surveillance
No, you don't have to be a celebrity to include video surveillance in your home alarm system. There are many inexpensive options to place cameras in select areas, and the images can be displayed on a monitor screen inside the home or even off site.

The newest trend in video surveillance is connecting small web cameras to your home computer network, so that you can monitor your home over the Internet from anywhere. This can be a way to extend your control over your home's security, but it's also effective if you just want to find out for sure if it's Fido or Spot that's been digging in your ficus.

Simple or Complex?
Knowing the different components that an alarm system can include, you can make it as basic or as intricate as you want. You can choose to have a single motion sensor at the front door or an entire monitored home security system with the works. Although several security companies will offer package deals, nothing says that you have to design your home alarm system by picking #4 off the menu. It all depends on how secure you want to make your home and how much you can afford.

Need the help of an expert to install an alarm in your home? Check out one of the many excellent home security service professionals on Kudzu.com.

Popular on Kudzu

  1. How much could I pay for carpet cleaning?
  2. DIY Network Video: Easy Garage Door Check-up
  3. Video: How do I choose a garage door?
  4. How much does it cost to install new gutters?
  5. Incredible Lighting in 4 Steps

ENJOY THIS ARTICLE? Sign up for more articles, tips and savings

From Our Experts

Kudzu Category Sponsors